The Real Paul Jones

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Month: October 2005 (page 3 of 3)

Converge fallout in NandO

I blogged a little about the sessions that I attended at the ConvergeSouth conference on Saturday. After seeing the discussion at the News and Observer Editor’s blog, I wish I could have made it over on Friday too. There NandO editor Melanie Sill opines on the filtering role of newspapers based in part on her reaction to Ted Vaden’s blogging about Jay Rosen’s talk at Converge (got all of that? good because there’s more).
But Sill hears back from Rosen in the comments (and others). There’s also a broken Trackback to Ed Cone’s blog.

Now that’s blogging for you.

[This post is also on the JOMC191 site]

Blooker Prize

I’m one of the judges along with Cory Doctorow and Robin Miller. The contest is for blogs that will become books or Blooks. There is a Blooker Prize blog and a Blooker Prize entry site with bits about the judges.
If you have a blog that could become a book or a comic, be sure to submit.

NC Poet of the Week Archives

I was Poet of the Week back in July. Now the Archive at the NC Arts Council lets you (and me) see the poems again along with the other poets of July — Pamela Uschuk, me, Betty Adcock and Tim Earley in that order. I am second and with the second most luxuriant flowing hair (but I am the only scientist).


Yes Yahoo is there with a nice interface and search at I had trouble with the Listen feature but haven’t had time to inspect it closely. I did find my favorite podcasts there: audioactivism, Folk Den, Le Show, Cory’s books.
Very useable compared to iTunes which for podcasts is a bit of a pain because of their Apple RSS changes/extensions.


Yesterday, I was up early to ride over to Greensboro (formerly known as Greenesborough) for the ConvergeSouth conference with MisterSugar, Corey and Marcella. Luckily Weaver Street Market (in Southern Village) opens at 7 and has the coffee brewed and ready at opening.
The conference took place on the NC A&T campus in a couple of very nice newish buildings. Everyone there was helpful and I was having a pretty mellow time. Lots of good folks from G’boro including especially Ed Cone, Sue P, making it all happen in a very community spirited way and more coffee.

The first session, for me, was with Duncan Black aka Atrios. He was lost for a while but a guy named Shaka (as in Shaka Zulu) found him and brought him to us. The crowd had many more women and people of color than most tech or blogging conferences that I’ve attended (one in Cape Town was a notable exception) and the conversation was highly inclusive and smart. That said many of the questions at blogger conventions have a kind of sameness to them over time.

Following Atrios, I went over to Jimbo Wales’ talk on collaboration. Predictably, this drew on a lot of the same material that I had hear/seen during his talk in Chapel Hill on Wednesday. This time I wasn’t in charge of the room or the arrangements, etc so I actually got to pay more attention.
One thing that both Jimbo and Brewster Kahle reminded me is that Wikipedia and both have three times the number of sysadmins as ibiblio does, but that almost all of their sysadmins are volunteers while both of ours are full time. Wikipedia has only two paid employes; Jimbo’s assistant and a lead software developer.
Jimbo ended at a place where discussion should begin: What parts of the wiki experience of broad collaboration should bloggers adopt?

Lunches appeared in bags. So I sat down and chatted with Kirk Ross about the Independent’s new political blog, Dent, there Kirk tries to post at least a brief note every morning as well as articles of more import.
WillR was pitching a Common Memory wiki or history of Chapel Hill wiki so that folks could understand how long various issues have been out there trying to be resolved by various councils and the context in which various decisions have been made, wisely or unwisely, over the years. Talked a little about how to build a successful community.
Ruby and Brian were there on out to a wedding after Ruby’s session. Ruby was much in demand having been a session leasder both days. OrangePolitics was getting serious and proper respect at the conference.

Also ran into and chatted a bit with Dave Winer whose session was just after lunch. Winer is in rare form these days, taking the first question about his recently announced sale of to VeriSign and making a little joke. Q: What will you do with your $2 million from VeriSign? Winer: That’s 2.3 Million and I’m going to put it in my savings account. Classic Winer ensued in a session that I think mostly pleased the crowd and pleased Dave. Lots of discussion by many voices — perhaps the most of any session that I attended.

Next I went to the Podcasting session by Herb Everett. The room was really really cold. Despite Herb’s enthusiasm, I was not so excited about podcasting basics and about good microphones as I probably should be so I slipped out to Sandy Carmany‘s political blogging session.

Sandy is an elected official, a City Council member in Greensboro, who blogs about her daily interactions as a council member. Sally does something like this with her listserv, but Sandy has even broken news (most recently the appointment of a new City Manager) on her blog. Many people involved in G’boro politics in the session as well as WillR from Chapel Hill.
Much made of being in touch with the voters and opening up government (it was not widely noted or was noted before I joined the session, that the appointment of the Manager was in a closed session).
WillR outed me as Mr. Sally Greene. Many people there know of and read Sally’s blog and website. I talked a little about how a site or blog can be used to provide deep background on an issue that might not seem clear at first and how a well researched and presented paper or essay can help frame the issue’s further discussion.

After a long break for coffee (and beer for some), about 10 of us convened for dinner with Dave Winer at the Undercurrent, a place too nice for most of us. So nice that some pretty spiffily dressed folks were there celebrating homecoming (at the local high school?). I spent a lot of time hearing about RadRails: a Ruby on Rails IDE from the creators Kyle Shank and Matt Kent– both of RIT and both interning at IBM in Raleigh.

Back in the dark rain with MisterSugar, Corey and Bora. Hearing the story of Bora’s coming to the USA as the Serbian horse-whisperer. Quite a wild tale and he got out just in time.
Bora also reported that Fred’s FaceBook study (and Bora’s follow on) came up several times during the conference.

The GSO BlogCon Blog is gathering various impressions of ConvergeSouth.

Louis Round Wilson Knowledge Trust

Last night, with much pomp — our faculty in their finest academic regalia; even me –, the Louis Round Wilson Knowledge Trust was initiated with the induction of the following members:

  • Dr. José-Marie Griffiths, Dean and Professor University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Mr. James Bailey, Author & Scholar
  • Dr. Joan Challinor, Commissioner U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS)
  • Dr. Nancy Davenport, President Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR)
  • Ms. Catherine De Rosa, Vice President, Marketing and Library Services, Online Computer Library Center
  • Dr. Brewster Kahle, Digital Librarian, Director and Co-Founder Internet Archive
  • Dr. Robert Martin, Lillian Bradshaw Endowed Chair in Library Science Texas Woman’s University
  • Dr. Eva Méndez Rodriguez, Dept. de Biblioteconomía y Documentación, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
  • Mr. Daniel Morrow, Board of Visitors, UNC School of Information and Libray Science, Chairman Emeritus Computerworld Smithsonian Program
  • Mr. Tom Rabon, Executive VP, Corporate Affairs, Red Hat
  • Dr. Robert Shelton, Provost, UNC at Chapel Hill
  • Dr. Vivian Siegel, former executive director, Public Library of Science
  • Dr. Winston Tabb, Dean of Univ. Libraries; Director, the Sheridan,The Johns Hopkins University
  • Mr. Jimmy Wales, Founder and President, Wikipedia Director, Wikimedia Foundation

Red Hat on $100 laptop

Talking with a Red Hat exec yesterday and learned that he had seen several prototypes of the MIT $100 laptop. He had actually turned the crank to drive one prototype; it works (ok, it works on one prototype model). At least one prototype will be ready for the big announcement by Nick Negroponte on November 17th.
And he says that the Linux that will be on the prototype will be Red Hat (Fedora or RHEL?).

Wales talk reported in Daily Tar Heel

Hanging with Jimbo, Brewster Kahle and others at the Wilson Knowledge Trust founding meetings [more on this at another time]. In the meantime, The Daily Tar Heel has an article on Jimbo’s talk yesterday.

Fred’s talk on Facebook podcast!

Brian Russell of has a podcast version of Fred Stutzman’s talk on Facebook. Talk about Fred’s talk can be found earlier in the blog.

Live blog of Jimmy Wales talk

A mysterious blogger sends me his live blog of the talk today by Jimmy Wales. We’ll have the video up on the ibiblio speaker pages by mid-next-week.

Sub-$100 laptop for the 3rd World

While folks here are panting for a sub-$1000 laptop, MIT under the guidance of Nick Negroponte have come up with a sub-$100 laptop with wind-up power. The target is student populations in the 3rd world — millions of them. The MIT laptop is supposed to be on schedule for a world demo at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis on November 17th.


“Nicholas Negroponte, the co-founder of the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, detailed specifications for a $100 windup-powered laptop targeted at children in developing nations.

Negroponte, who laid out his original proposal at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January, said MIT and his nonprofit group, called One Laptop Per Child, is in discussions with five countries–Brazil, China, Thailand, Egypt and South Africa–to distribute up to 15 million test systems to children.”


The machines, which will run a version of the Linux operating system, will also include other applications, some developed by MIT researchers, as well as country-specific software. “Software has gotten too fat and
unreliable, so we started with Linux,” he said.


much more detail in the article and in these

Tomorrow – Jimmy Wales Speakers Series

Who: Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales
When:3:30 Wednesday October 5

Where: 209 Manning Hall

What: A talk about the world’s most popular encyclopedia and news source,
Wikipedia and Wikinews by the man who invented and sustains them.

More about Jimmy and Wikipedia

School of Information and Library Science
School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Scholarly Communications Working Group

Poster in PDF form here (with new location)

See Jimbo on CSPAN’s Questions and Answers (September 25, 2005 and online archive)

Facebook for Parents?

The University of Alabama, reports Karen on the jomc191 blog, is offering a Facebook like service for Bama Parents. MyBama doesn’t show Freshman Connection or Family Connection as yet. For now it looks like a portal. Perhaps the Connection is hidden.
One may ask why? But the echo answers why not?

Facebook politics at Kansas

Josh Roseneau’s Thoughts on Kansas blog has a Fred Stutzman inspired look at the self reported political leanings of students using Facebook at Kansas University. He also compares his findings with Bora’s look at NCSU and finds: KU has fewer liberals than UNC, though it’s a more uniform distribution (among the center three) than NCSU.

100 years of Einstein

“2005 marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of Einstein’s three great scientific papers on relativity, light and matter.

Have you read them? Did you understand them?

If not, you are not alone. When asked who is or was the most famous scientist of all time, many people mention Albert Einstein. However, few people know what he did that made him so famous or realize what a great impact his ideas continue to have on our 21st-century lives. ”

The Chapel Hill Public Library (disclosure I am on the Board of Trustees) is presenting a series of talks by Dr. Henry Greenside of Duke the first of which was this afternoon. Dr. Greenside explains the Einsteinian concepts found in his 1905 papers so that most anyone can understand what wonderful surprising and important discoveries and suggestions they were and how they continue to influence our thinking and understanding.

Beginning with today’s talk on “Einstein’s Relativity Theories and What is E=mc2 All About?” (he spent most of the talk on the special theory rather than the general theory today) and following with two other talks. Sunday, Oct. 9 (3:00-4:30 pm): Einstein and the Photon Concept and Sunday, Oct. 23 (3:00-4:30 pm): Einstein and Atoms.

Sally, Tucker and I were there and took in the talk to our various capacities. Sally caught the talk and a following experiment with bending an electron stream using magnets with her digital camera. [photo 1] [photo 2] [photo 3] [photo 4] [photo 5]

Tucker is looking forward to next week’s talk about the properties of light and the dual nature of the photon. So am I.

Even More Facebook Follow-up

Fred has additional FaceBook observations, with measures to back them, on the ibiblog. This is a very lengthy and wise follow up on Freshman behavior in regards to privacy and disclosure.

One interesting fact that Fred points out: Of nearly 400 personal websites reported “Not one freshman reports using his or her UNC provided webspace.”

As I say in a comment there:

Just observing my students, I notice that reliance on UNC services such as mail and webspace has declined and in many cases vanished entirely.

We require that students have an ONYEN and that they recieve mail at a address, but more often than not the address is a forward to an account (yahoo, hotmail, gmail etc) that the student has had since high school or earlier.

Similarly, students with web space take advantage of a service that they have had before coming to UNC and expect to have after leaving UNC.

Why? In part because the Only Name You’ll Ever Need (ONYEN) is only temporary. It vanishes when you leave UNC and with it your email and website — and without forwarding of either.

Students — and other users — see their websites and email as more of less permanent (”I want my friends to find me” etc) and the UNC solution as transient.

[end of comment on ibiblog]

The virtual communites of UNC students are mostly privately managed by free email services, web hosting services, blogging services and photo services — as well as, and I don’t recall if Fred has measured this, Instant Messaging services. Of these services, UNC offers only email and limited web hosting.

Lessons on Speech Making

The brains behind Bush speech making are revealed in this clip making the net.rounds. Personally, I think that Bush2 uses the same speech coaches as Bush1. (thanks, Doc and then several others).

Big Sweep in Morgan Creek

Before noon today, I was rolling abandoned mud-filled tires out of cold creek water, through the briars and out to the gravel road that parallels Morgan Creek in the Mason Farm Reserve. Sally, Tucker and I along with about ten high school students were taking part in the Big Sweep.

The Big Sweep
is a nation, state and local project to clean streams. So we were a little like the hero of “Spirited Away” as we pulled odd findings and lots of plastic trash out of the sand and mud trying to restore the creek. Sally had been a sweeper for several years, but this was the first for me.

It was actually fun to be in the creek pulling stuff out and leaving a part of the Reserve garbage free (until the next big rain). Sally has pictures that I’ll link to once they’re up.

I don’t know if she’ll have a picture of the oddest of our findings, a bouy from a lake upstream (but what lake is upstream from Chapel Hill on Morgan Creek? University Lake?). A “no wake” warning bouy was quite out of place there in the shallow creek.

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